With the shadow of his past hanging over him, the Doctor cast a final look around the control room of his beloved TARDIS. Reaching out, he fondly padded the console gently, welcoming the psychic nudge he received from her. Then with a sharp breath, he straightened his back and turned to face the doors. On the other side, he knew, he knew they would be waiting. He knew that it would be the last time he stood inside his ship, it would be the last time he would ever travel to another place. It was his decision, all for Rose... A small, wry smile shifted his lips slightly at the thought of the yellow girl he knew so many years ago. Only for Rose, only she could bring him to do this.
With a final glance at the time rotor, he reached over and set the controls for a two minute delay. The least he could do was send her out of their reach, away from their control. He wouldn't have his beloved cannibalized again, like the Master. How long has it been since such simple adventures? Of course, they didn't seem simple at the time, but now that he looked back on his past, he felt a small, unwilling chuckle rise up and slip from between his lips. So much trouble, all because of who he was in every time line he had visited. Reaching in his pocket he slipped out his Sonic, psychic paper and several other items of importance. Gazing at them for the last time, he gently set them on the console then began the walk to the doors.
One, two, three steps... How long would he last? Four, five, six steps... Would he ever be given the freedom they promised afterwards? Seven, eight, nine steps... Funny how this small walkway seemed to be a million miles now. So many other times it was only a couple of short leaps then he was there. Ten, eleven, twelve... Looking up, he studied the blue wood of the TARDIS doors, memorizing every crack, nick and scratch on the paint. Committing it to the vault that never forgot anything before reaching up with an arm that seemed to weigh a thousand pounds to unlock the deadbolt then slowly pull the door open just far enough to slip out and shut it before they got inside.
He stared at the ground for a long time in silence, the sound of breathing all around him as he slowly adjusted himself to his fate. Curiously, he studied their shoes, missing his boots from a more... Sassier attitude. A sudden pang for the past shot through his hearts, searing him to the core with pain as he thought of his companions. Donna, Martha, Jack, Rose... So many so many lives changed because of him. And not all of it was good. He mused to himself, still studying the shoes gathered around him in a protective semi-circle. It was for the best. Always was in the end, everything he did was for them, protecting them, teaching them... In the end it always was the same. Goodbye.
Finally, The Doctor sucked in a deep breath and brought his head up, gazing into the familiar face of Rose Tyler as she stared at him. Nothing showed in her face, no recognizable smile, no happiness or anger. No sadness even... He would have preferred anger directed towards him, even tears, but nothing... That was the worst thing she could have done... She knew him the best in the end, she knew his weakness and his habits. That was how it happened. Dragging his gaze over, he sought a familiar emotion in the face of his Meta-crisis form as he stared impassively into back. The same as Rose, Nothing there either. He deserved it, always in the end, what pain came to him, he deserved it.
Finally, with a long drawn-out sigh, he reached into his pocket and pulled the key to his TARDIS, the only one that fit the new lock. The only one he ever cared to have made... He felt another lance of pain in his chest as he stared at the shining metal before a hand reached out and snatched it from his palm. "Take him to Torchwood. Secure the TARDIS and get it put somewhere that no one would ever find it again." Rose's words cut through the thick silence around them. Barking orders like a regular army captain. In a way she was, an army captain in a war against one man. Him.
As a pair of handcuffs were bound to his wrists, the familiar call of the TARDIS echoed around the deserted field, blowing dust up as she began to dematerialize for the last time. "No! Doctor, what did you do!" His Meta-Crisis form ran forward, reaching for the wooden doors only to have his hand pass through them as they vanished seconds before contact. "I sent her away. Some place where no one could ever use her again." The Doctor said in a tired voice. The voice of a man that had seen too many things, done too much and spoke too often in his life. Such a long life... And bound to be longer here, in the other world with Rose, his Meta-Crisis and the others... Stuck on Earth, even the small bit of coral he had given to them before leaving had been tucked away, never to be allowed to develop in a chamber of maximum lock down. No more time travel, no more space travel...
The Vortex almost collapsed, he caused it. It was his fault in the end, just as he deserved any pain he received. The TARDIS malfunctioned, jettisoning too much energy during a travel phase... Sending him here, cracking open the space between universes again. Of course, the Vortex had a hand in it this time, sending him here in order to re-establish the proper time stream and protect itself from damage. As soon as Rose found out, she called Torchwood and ordered them to take him away to keep from interfering as they carted his TARDIS away to the same prison the small bit of coral was in. It was to protect all universes, not just their own. It was meant to save everyone, at the cost of his own love. Trapped on a single planet... How long would he last, would he ever be allowed the freedom to travel as he pleased once they deemed it safe?
With a final glance at the blue sky overhead, he allowed them to lead him to the vehicles parked alongside the road. His eyes searching for something, anything that might save him. As he was pushed inside gently, the eyes closed, finally able to accept what happened. Off to Torchwood... Off to a singular time line... Alone on a planet where he didn't belong. A sudden thought rising in his mind just as they pulled away and began driving down the long dirt road. The only thought he would ever have for the rest of his unnatural life.
He deserves this after all.
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